The champ is here!
Seth Rollins, self-proclaimed “The Undisputed Future of WWE,” has endured a long road on his way to becoming WWE’s No. 1 guy and in possession of WWE’s top prize. Rollins is good and he knows it.
The WWE Universe has long awaited a one-on-one showdown between Rollins and Brock Lesnar ever since Rollins won the title at WrestleMania. We’re finally going to get it.
Before he faces his most physical test in his career this Sunday at WWE’s Battleground, the WWE champion took a moment to reflect with us about what life is like on top, his independent wrestling pedigree, rivalries, life out of the ring, the future, and more.
“Everybody wants a piece of the champ”
CraveOnline: As the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, what has changed for you? How busy are you?
Seth Rollins: The schedule is pretty hectic. It was pretty hectic before that if I’m being honest with you. Yeah I’m a little crazier. I’m definitely loaded up on media appearances and interviews and stuff like that. Typical stuff.
Everybody wants a piece of the champ, right? It’s like that for whoever it is, it just happens to be me at the time and it’s something I take pride in. I like being sought after a little bit so it’s good for me and it’s good for you.
CraveOnline: I understand that you have a wrestling school. That blew my mind considering your busy schedule.
Seth Rollins: Well, let’s not get crazy here. I don’t run the school on a day-to-day basis. My co-trainer Marek Brave runs the school on a day-to-day basis but I do a decent job at facilitating that and it’s something he always wanted to do and something I always wanted to do for the independent wrestling community in this area. I’m happy to help them out when I can. Marek does a great job at running the school on a day-to-day basis and I stop in and help the kids when I can.
On Winning The Title At WrestleMania
CraveOnline: I was at WrestleMania to see your surprise cash-in for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and getting your WrestleMania moment. When and how did you find out that you were cashing in that night?
Seth Rollins: I was told by the people that I needed to be told by halfway through the show that it was going to be an option and to be ready and to be prepared so I was. I had my Money in the Bank briefcase and contract by my side watching the main event and waited for the right time to strike if it became available and if all things worked out and they did and here we are talking about it now.
It was definitely a game-time decision. It certainly wasn’t something… something I considered for months in my mind but I’m not the one who has control over all that and you never know how things are going to work out so It was one of those deals where right place, right time is an understatement.
CraveOnline: That was a very long way to run down at WrestleMania.
Seth Rollins: [Laughs] Yeah, it was quite a sprint.
Brock Lesnar and Battleground
CraveOnline: Let’s talk Battleground coming up this Sunday. You’re taking on “The Beast” Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. You guys bring completely different styles to the ring with Brock being a physical beast and you’re very diverse in your style. What can we expect at Battleground? What makes this match so special?
Seth Rollins: I think you can expect one of the greatest professional wrestling matches you have ever seen in your entire life. You got two guys who are pretty much at the top of their game, in peak physical condition vying after the greatest prize in our industry and it will be live on the WWE Network and on PPV for the whole world to see in a great wrestling city like St. Louis.
I think you put myself, and like you mentioned, my diversity against Brock Lesnar and his power and his relative diversity too. People underestimate how quick he is, how fast he is, and how smart he is… You put us together in the ring, I think you really have an opportunity for magic.
I’ve only been in a match setting with Brock Lesnar two times. One was at the Royal Rumble earlier this year and we all know how that turned out and the other was obviously at the end of WrestleMania and we all know how that turned out. That’s two extremely special moments in WWE history and I think we’re about to create the third here this Sunday at Battleground.
The Pedigree of Independent Wrestling
CraveOnline: You’re a part of the growing trend of guys who came up from the independent circuit like Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and others coming to the WWE and becoming mega stars. Do you think it helps to have that pedigree entering WWE developmental?
Seth Rollins: Well, let me explain something to you. When I got to WWE developmental, that pedigree did not help you at all. It was against you. You were an enemy of the state when you walked in, when you had an independent background.
When I got in there, it was myself and a guy like Cesaro, who was down there as well. You had CM Punk up on the main roster and Daniel Bryan who were both struggling to find their places at the time. You had guys like Kevin Owens who were not even considered to be hired at that point. So what we did, what I did, was change the game.
I showed the entire world that we were the force that was going to be reckoned with whether they wanted it or not. We were going to be the guys who took over the industry in the next five years. It was only a matter of time. We put in the time to our craft. We dedicated our lives to making professional wrestling better on a daily basis. We traveled the entire world and spread our cause on a grassroots level. That’s pretty much undeniable, in my opinion when it comes to experience and just getting over.
I think now it’s the rule as opposed to the exception. When you look at the guys like Zayn [Sami], Owens [Kevin], Balor [Finn], and Neville and that whole crew, I think that’s pretty awesome. I’m proud to have been a precursor to that a little bit.
Rivalry With The Shield
CraveOnline: Looking back on your time with The Shield, you three were and still are some of the biggest stars in the business. Was there a personal rivalry amongst you, Dean, and Roman to see who was going to be that first guy to get that top spot?
Seth Rollins: I don’t think so … I’m sure Roman and Dean are still a little hurt about how it all worked out but don’t let them fool you. At the end of day, we all knew we were going to be competing with each other for the top spot and top prize in WWE. We knew that was going to happen. We knew it was only a matter of time. I just happened to pull the trigger a little sooner than they wanted to.
Personal Favorites And Guilty Pleasures
CraveOnline: A lot of our readers want to know what Seth Rollins is like out of the ring in regards to favorites and lifestyle. What’s your favorite TV show?
Seth Rollins: Probably Game of Thrones.
CraveOnline: What bands are you listening to right now?
Seth Rollins: Let’s see, my friends in The Wonder Years are putting out a new record that is pretty awesome. Otherwise, what else do I got on the playlist? August Burns Red just came out with a new record that’s really good. The Story So Far also did the same thing. There’s actually a lot of new records that popped out and I’m still on the new Bringing The Horizon song they just put out the other day. That’s a lot of answers for ya there.
CraveOnline: Favorite movie of all-time, Seth?
Seth Rollins: Fight Club
CraveOnline: We know you’re super heavy into CrossFit and into training but what’s the guilty pleasure in regards to food on the road?
Seth Rollins: Oh, man, usually a good beer for me. I like to find different local restaurants in the towns that I’m in. My go-to is always Chipotle when I can’t find anything but if I have the time in the evening or something like that after a show, I’ll go find a local spot for a nice craft beer and a good burger or something like that.
Jumping Off Of A Fan’s Belly Back In The Day
CraveOnline: Back in the day, there was a video from early in your career, where you did a moonsault off of a large man’s stomach [laughs]. How do you come up with stuff that? Is that a spur of the moment type thing?
Seth Rollins: Oh, yeah. That was at the Ted Petty Invitational in 2005, I think, working for Ian Rotten out of IWA Mid-South. I was wrestling Evan Bourne, Matt Sydal, actually, and the guy whose belly I jumped off of is a friend of mine.
I said, “Hey man, your belly is really big. I’m going to try and do a moonsault off of it.” So I told him where to be and when to be there and he was so I figured I would give it a shot. I didn’t land on my land and it created a nice wonderful Internet meme for years to come.
CraveOnline: You have already accomplished so much and you’re still very young so what’s left on your bucket list for your career?
Seth Rollins: Aw, man. Just hanging around and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I love wrestling. I love WWE. I love being a part of something special every single night we go out there. I love telling the stories that we tell. I love playing the characters that we play. It’s just a matter of staying healthy and being able to do this for a long time and trying to make it better every single day, trying to not stagnate and just progress the business and be a part of that revolution that is all those NXT guys and gals you mentioned and anybody else who wants to come in and contribute to this wonderful industry and business that I love.
It’s just a matter of continuing to work hard and loving what you do and as long as I have both of those things, a passion to work hard and loving this industry then I’ll stick around. There’s always new goals to achieve and new opponents to take on and I’m looking forward to seeing what that brings.
Photos courtesy of WWE
Watch WWE Battleground; live on WWE Network on July 19 at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT.
Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a surfing enthusiast, an unhealthy sports fanatic, and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.